my love-Hate relationship

14 11 2009

I’m almost in a love-hate relationship. At the moment its in a sort of hate-hate stage, but I’m working on it. And I’m almost there.

Hills are the bane of many a cyclist, others thrive on them and the sense of accomplishment felt when knocking the bastard off. The particular hill that gives me the most grief is Makara Hill, situated in a particularly beautiful part of Wellington marking the border of Karori and Makara township. My very first ride on the Monza was from Karori to Makara Beach and back, the return journey up Makara Hill being my undoing. I hadn’t eaten enough before the ride and promptly ran out of gas, couldn’t unclip and unceremoniously fell over a quarter of the way up the hill.

Makara Hill Summit

The Summit of Makara Hill

I haven’t attempted to ride up the steep side of the hill again. Yet.

As well as struggling with climbing up the buggers, I’m also struggling with descending down them. I don’t yet trust my skills or my bike to just unleash myself down them at full speed so at the moment I’m tending to brake the whole way down. I’m looking forward to the moment when I’m happy to tackle going up any hill and relishing the adrenaline rush upon hurtling down the other side at break-neck speed.

Today I decided to ride a loop starting in Karori, going through Makara and the Takarau Gorge up into Johnsonville, then heading back to Karori via Broadmeadows, Ngaio and Wilton. It was the longest ride I had attempted so far. Once you’re in the valley there are only two ways out – back the way i came over the aforementioned Makara Hill, or up to Johnsonville. Both are up hills, Makara Hill being steep and short, with the hill up to Johnsonville being longer and not so steep.

It was a beautiful day, and I decided to take the camera. Here is Makara Beach – a very rough part of New Zealand’s coastline:

Makara Beach

Makara BeachI was really pleased with my progress. Up until now all my rides had been on the relative flat of the Miramar Peninsula, so i was keen to see how I’d cope with a few hills.

I arrived in Johnsonville sooner than I expected, thinking the ascent into Johnsonville would be a lot tougher. In fact the hills that I struggled with the most were in Broadmeadows and Wilton on the way back up to Karori!

I had also been struggling with my water and energy intake on my previous rides. This time around I took a Peak Fuel Energy Gel and one bottle of water and one of Peak Fuel Hydration Sports Drink. Although I didn’t use the gel, I found the drink gave me a real energy boost. Maybe it was psychological but I’ll take it anyway.

So, the stats:
Distance: 40.75km
Time: 2h04m47s
Average Speed: 19.5km/h
Max Speed: 44.5km/h

You can see the ride profile here:

View Interactive Map on

A touchy subject in the Ohariu Valley is the impending wind farm that will be erected on land West of Ohariu Valley and North of Makara Beach, a project called Project Mill Creek. Project Mill Creek will border the existing wind farm at Makara, Project West Wind.

Construction on West Wind began in October 2007 and should be completed by the end of this year. Meridian Energy reckon upon completion it will produce enough energy to power around 70,000 average New Zealand homes, all the homes within Wellington city apparently.

Project West Wind

Project West Wind - Makara

Obviously when a plan like Project Mill Creek is proposed there are going to be some people who are all for it, and some people who are completely against it. Although it is a good use of a sustainable energy source there are downsides. The visual impact on the landscape, the noise generated by the turbines, the impact of construction traffic, sedimentation and erosion issues are all problems that the local Ohariu Valley residents are not too happy about. Unfortunately for them the project has been given the go ahead. Strict conditions have been set upon it though, especially to do with night-time noise, which independent commissioners have found to be the most significant likely adverse effect of the project.

RIP Ohariu Valley

R.I.P Ohariu Valley

All the best, Ohariu Valley residents.




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